To assess the role of the purine nucleotide cycle in human skeletal muscle function, we evaluated 10 patients with AMP deaminase deficiency (myoadenylate deaminase deficiency; MDD). Four MDD and 19 non-MDD controls participated in an exercise protocol. The latter group was composed of a patient cohort (n = 8) exhibiting a constellation of symptoms similar to those of the MDD patients, i.e., postexertional aches, cramps, and pains; as well as a cohort of normal, unconditioned volunteers (n = 11). The individuals with MDD fatigued after performing only 28% as much work as their non-MDD counterparts. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the 4 MDD patients and the 8 non-MDD patients at rest and following exercise to the point of fatigue. Creatine phosphate content fell to a comparable extent in the MDD (69%) and non-MDD (52%) patients at the onset of fatigue. Following exercise, the 34% decrease in ATP content of muscle from the non-MDD subjects was significantly greater than the 6% decrease in ATP noted in muscle from the MDD patients (P = 0.048). Only one of 4 MDD patients had a measurable drop in ATP compared with 7 of 8 non-MDD patients. At end-exercise the muscle content of inosine 5'-monophosphate (IMP), a product of AMP deaminase, was 13-fold greater in the non-MDD patients than that observed in the MDD group (P = 0.008). Adenosine content of muscle from the MDD patients increased 16-fold following exercise, while there was only a 2-fold increase in adenosine content of muscle from the non-MDD patients (P = 0.028). Those non-MDD patients in whom the decrease in ATP content following exercise was measurable exhibited a stoichiometric increase in IMP, and total purine content of the muscle did not change significantly. The one MDD patient in whom the decrease in ATP was measurable, did not exhibit a stoichiometric increase in IMP. Although the adenosine content increased 13-fold in this patient, only 48% of the ATP catabolized could be accounted for by the combined increases of adenosine, inosine, hypoxanthine, and IMP. Studies performed in vitro with muscle samples from 7 MDD and 7 non-MDD subjects demonstrated that ATP catabolism was associated with a 5-fold greater increase in IMP in non-MDD muscle. There were significant increases in AMP and ADP content of the muscle from MDD patients following ATP catabolism in vitro, while there was no detectable increase in AMP or ADP in non-MDD muscle. Adenosine content of MDD muscle increased following ATP catabolism, but there was no detectable increase in adenosine content of non-MDD muscle following ATP catabolism in vitro. These studies demonstrate that AMP deaminase deficiency leads to reduced entry of adenine nucleotides into the purine nucleotide cycle during exercise. We postulate that the resultant disruption of the purine nucleotide cycle accounts for the muscle dysfunction observed in these patients.
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